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Postal mistakes caused by sloppy handwriting

Date Posted: 2004-10-14

Postal workers at Okinawa’s 201 Post Offices made nearly 2,000 mistakes costing both customers and the postal service.

Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications inspectors didn’t cite the survey period, but noted the post offices scored 1,992 mistakes during their audit period.

In all cases, inspectors wrote, postal workers were unable to read customers’ handwriting on documents, or they themselves wrongly entered data to the computer when handling customer money.

Inspectors found that in many cases the clerks had interpreted number 3 to be 8, or number 1 to be 7. The mistakes resulted in customer overcharges of ¥9,270,000. Similar mistakes worked the opposite way, as inspectors found 1,100 mistakes resulting in a total of ¥5,260,000 owed to the postal service.

They say most of the mistakes were made while posting customer postal savings accounts. Other errors resulted from mailing and postal insurance transactions.

An Okinawa Post official blamed the mistakes on the volume of customers, which resulted in overwork. “Our clerks handle many more customers each day than bank workers, so mistakes are inevitable, the spokesman said, “although we stress our workers the importance of double checking the slips carefully.” He added that the problem is by no means unique to Okinawa, as the ministry inspectors discover same mistakes in every part of the country.

The Okinawa Post official emphasized that once the mistakes are identified, the postal service takes every possible measure to correct them, although it’s not always easy. “As almost all of the mistakes were the result of poor handwriting, the same goes to writing of customers’ names and addresses on the documents, and it is often nearly impossible to verify the identity of the customer,” the spokesman said.

He admitted that of those discovered, only 184 cases has been resolved, and added that those who have charged too little and must pay more are not very eager to come to the post office to make the additional payments.

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